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Old 03-16-2011, 07:41 PM   #1
Cazamodo
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Default stuck sparge :(

Ok, mash went fine, dropped half a degree. First time I've used my new mash tun with a ss braid. Opened the mash tun to drain first runnings, voulourfed great, but now its trickling out. I've blown in it, stired and let it re-settle, added more water to thin it stirred and re-settled it, but it still trickles out, after 2 seconds of good flow.

I'm pretty sure I have a lost of stuff in my bk since I've uipset the grain bed enough.

What are my options? Add the rest of my sparge water? Stir continuesly and worryu about the amount of grain in the bk later?
Or do I simply sit it out and hope the trickle doesn't sie out completely haha.

I'm also tempted to use a hop bag since my bk has the same ss braid as a hop stopper, but I don't trust it now!

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:19 PM   #2
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A couple things come to mind.

First, in my experience, this batch is unfixable. The beer will not be inferior, it will just take a long time to drain. Like go have dinner long.

The fact that you already restirred the mash and reset the grain bed without improving results eliminates the possibility of a dough ball in my mind, but on your next batch, pay extra attention to giving the mash a good stir while doughing in. A few other possibilities.....

You may have fouled up your braid. It is pretty easy to kink the braid when you first use it, and that can dramatically slow down the sparge, but it probably wouldn't reduce it to a trickle.

I say there are two other more likely scenario's.

Too fine of a crush. Did you mill your own grain, or was it a local shop/online source? Odds are, a shop is not crushing too fine, because improved efficiency works against them (less grain sold per recipe). I was getting a crush with a lot of lour, and experienced a stuck sparge or two. I slightly increased the mill gap, and have not had a problem since.

*Most likely scenario*
You opened the valve too much and it compacted the grain bed. I find that anything over a 1/2 open valve is too fast a flow for the grainbed to process. I think that the fact that you tried resetting the grain bed with similarly poor results back's up my theory. That, compacted with the possibilities of dough balls, a kinked braid, and maybe too fine a crush, is stuck sparge city.


Joe

Just some things to think about next time.

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:37 PM   #3
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Yea the valve was fully opened. That could be it! I also may of underestimated the amount of water I needed. And finally, the braid had stretched and kinked so that also didn't help!

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:51 PM   #4
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strange this happened with a braid, maybe the braid is crushed? Is it one of those toilet ones or a "bazooka screen"?

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:54 PM   #5
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I think I may have stretched it with too bvigouros stirring. Also, I haven't heard/seen these bazooka screens.

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:57 PM   #6
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basically a bad-a$$ braid:

http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shoppingc...ka-Screen.html

i've dumped my mash out into a bucket before to fix a displaced false bottom. beer still turned out. i've since bought a bazooka screen and haven't had anything stick since

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Old 03-16-2011, 09:59 PM   #7
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Just something to check, I've heard of people accidentally buying the plastic braid. Looks and feels just like the SS one but doesn't hold up to the temps of a mash and collapses. I almost made the same mistake but happened to notice just as I was ready to check out. I would check that braid in your BK and make sure it is in fact SS.

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Old 03-16-2011, 10:25 PM   #8
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full open valve compacted the grain, like Joe said. I recirculate my mash through a RIMs tube. I close down the output valve (to the sparge arm), open the input (from the MLT) about half way, start the pump, THEN open the output valve a crack. To sparge, I simply close the output valve, quick disconnect the input from the MLT, attach it to the HLT QD, then open the output back to half way.

Never had a stuck sparge this way (although I have clogged my manifold when I vorloufed manually in the past with a too-wide-open valve).

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Old 03-16-2011, 11:01 PM   #9
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Well, Im now done, and 4.5 Gal (little bit less than I hoped) of my old peculiar clone is now in the fermenter!

Things for next time -

Im going to cut off the kinked and squashed bits of my braid. Its deffo SS, and I think a shorter one will work better in my MLT. I batch sparge, and I also underestimated the grain absorbtion, I got as much water out from my sparge (still hit a good 1.50+ pre boil grav, what I was aiming for) and thoght I had enough. Turns out, I accounted for boil off, but not how much id loose to the hops!

As for my BK. HOP BAG! My braid got wrapped in hop leaves and flow completely stopped, had to sanatize up a paddle, and scrape the braid back and forth continuously to get the wort out. Im not tooo worried about contaminating it, as i pitched a good amount of yeast. But the hops clogged up the braid, esp since I used hops at flameout. So yea, next time hop bag!

I can finish my ferm chamber tomorrow, and then all I can do is wait!

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Old 03-17-2011, 01:39 AM   #10
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Here's a stupid thought for you. Borrow part of the "brew in a bag" equipment to help you out on the sparge. Line your mash tun with a paint strainer bag or make one from Swiss Voille (curtain material) and put your grain it that. If you get a stuck sparge, just lift the bag of grains out and clear the problem, then drop them back in and complete your sparge.

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